Sunday, March 25, 2007 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl

So, it's finally out, and I am loving it.

I've barely started playing, only about an hour and a half in, but already I'm seeing way more content and acerage than I can reasonably handle. The game looks like it is going to be huge.

The gameplay style is an interesting mix, the main body of an FPS, with an RPG style quest/trading aspect, and a healthy plot. The atmosphere is thick, and I'm pretty much paranoid while playing the game, wondering if there are 'anomalies' around, constantly looking around. The environmental sounds are a huge part of the game, and it's one of those times I'm really glad to have a surround setup, to hear things creeping up on me, twigs breaking, etc.

There is no room for anyone to play Rambo here, as I found out on my first combat mission. You die easily, and need to remember that. Working with other stalkers, raher than against them makes everything easier, even if you might not get as much 'loot.'

The ambient AI, and interaction looks to be very well executed. Your actions affect how other stalkers treat you, and can hurt, or help you. There is a real, lived in feeling, watching some rookie stalkers around a campfire, playing guitar, smoking, and talking.

The graphics, too, are impressive. A real, gritty world exists around you, with very intricate textures, and very impressive lighting effects. Now, it won't win the award for best graphics of the year, but it certainly looks good.

I can't reccomend it enough.